Modelling Physical Processes in the Grey Zone
was the theme of the
“2nd WCRP Summer School on Climate Model Development”

The "Second WCRP Summer School on Climate Model Development" was held in Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil, on 22-31 January. It was hosted by the Brazil National Institute for Space Research, Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies (INPE/CPTEC).

Photo of 2018 WCRP modeling summer school audiences

The WCRP summer school series on climate modelling aims to develop and increase understanding of how global numerical models are built. To this end, the schools cover many aspects of Earth system simulation, including atmospheric, land surface, ocean, and biogeochemical processes. In its second edition, the 2018 school focused on a current scientific challenge: the development of scale-aware parameterizations with emphasis on the so called "grey zone", that is, models with horizontal resolution ranging from 1km to 10km.

A total of 70 applications for participation in the summer school had been received. A scientific selection committee assessed the relevance of the applicants’ potential contributions to the summer school. Throughout the selection process, the board considered potential for future knowledge transfer as an important factor. Improving and increasing the capability of developing countries in the development of climate models was an additional aim of the summer school. A majority of the 30 Early Career Researchers (ECR) selected came from the weather and climate communities in Argentina, Brazil and Peru. Other participants came from Pakistan, India and Japan (with a self-funded participant). Full and partial financial support was offered by WCRP and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico – CNPq) to the best candidates.

Group photo: 2018 WCRP modeling summer school

This edition of the summer school focused on “Scale-aware parameterization for representing sub-grid scale processes” and provided theoretical background on scale-aware parameterizations used to represent processes in grey zone climate models. The numerical representation of physical processes introduces significant model uncertainties. Parameterizations that have traditionally been used to represent physical processes were developed decades ago in the context of very coarse model grids. Nowadays, with the increase of computing power and the use of models with higher horizontal resolutions, it is recognized that models with horizontal grid spacing in the grey zone require suitable methods to describe key features of physical processes.

The program of the school revolved around the coupling between physics and dynamics in global models; representation of the surface heterogeneity and atmosphere-land surface interactions; turbulence and planetary boundary layers; shallow, deep convection and microphysical aspects in the grey zone, including aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions; model hierarchy; and observation field campaigns to support model development.

The summer school included presentations from 11 lecturers and 9 keynote speakers from Europe, the United States and Brazil. The school offered 35 hours of theoretical presentations, including 6 remote talks, and 14 hours of practical activities. A poster session with students’ presentations brought together senior experts and ECRs.

The organizing committee also scheduled a presentation on the Young Earth System Scientists Community (YESS), which illustrated possibilities and advantages for ECRs to become engaged in young researchers' networks.

An online livestream of the school allowed for remote viewing of all presentations and discussions. Recordings were made available to the CPTEC/INPE YouTube channel. For easy and direct access, as one of WCRP’s efforts on capacity development, all lectures are also made available with improved quality as educational material in a YouTube collection dedicated to the summer school.

The speakers' presentations and poster files are available for download in the summer school's homepage.
For more details on the 2nd WCRP Summer School on Climate Model Development, visit its general homepage.